The School of Discipleship (SOD) is a leadership training school based on the belief that the Church is the institution which was given the call to raise up and train spiritual leaders for work in the Kingdom. Under the basic principles of discipleship, communal living, and experiential ministry, the SOD is intended to lead potential leaders deeper into Christ and community and to develop their character, to hear and receive their calling, and to serve in their competencies.

Scripturally speaking, the importance of leadership cannot be overstated. More often than not, vested leadership is how God chooses to work among His people. Time and again, we see God select a man or a woman (often a choice at which the world scoffs) and form that man or woman into a leader – an influencer – for the function and end to which God calls him/her. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Gideon, Ruth, Samuel, Saul, Samson, Esther, Nehemiah, David, the prophets, Jesus, Jesus’ disciples, Paul, Aquila and Priscilla, Chloe, Timothy, Apollos, Epaphras – the list of leaders goes on and on.

For too long the Church has forgotten her responsibility for birthing and developing leaders. She has begun farming out her emerging leaders to Bible colleges and seminaries, even church-based theological educational institutions. These institutions are not wrong in and of themselves, but they are not the Church. Don’t mistake us, the problem of a lack of church integrated leader development is not the fault of these educational institutions. Used as tools by the Church in the development of her emerging leaders, these institutions can be very useful to the cause of true leader development, but there is no replacement for a local church taking responsibility for its leaders and emerging leaders.

Leader development in the Church is an ancient mandate established by Christ and expounded on by the apostles:

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
– Matthew 28:16-20

“I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”
-- 1 Corinthians 4:14-17

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” – 2 Timothy 2:1,2

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:11-16

Developing leaders is disciple-making.
Developing leaders is natural church growth.
Developing leaders is purposeful.
Developing leaders is equipping.
Developing leaders is organic.
Developing leaders is authentic.
Developing leaders is worship.
Developing leaders is evangelism.
Developing leaders is fathering.
Developing leaders is transformation.

All the things for which modern and postmodern church models say they exist are found in and defined by biblical, church-integrated leadership development. While it is not ministerially sexy, biblical, church-integrated leadership development is hard work that is often unseen and under-appreciated, even by those in whom we are investing. Church-integrated leader development will not necessarily produce more people in a church’s seats or more money in a church’s budget. But these things are not the point. The point is to build the Kingdom of God according to the commands, principles and methods of our King -- and He chose to develop leaders.

There are various ways in which leader development takes place at Cornerstone: elder and deacon development, family training, worship teams, Cornerstone Eighth Street, etc. But the most intensely purposeful leadership development concept is the School of Discipleship.

The members of the School of Discipleship primarily live in the four apartments above Cornerstone.
515 Cumberland St. - Lebanon, PA - 17042 | 717.279.5683